Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been internationally recognised as an essential part of cost-effectively reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, especially for heavily fossil fuel reliant countries such as Australia. A number of CCS demonstration projects have been completed, are underway or planned, and several major commercial CCS projects are proposed for Australia.
The Australian Government has begun a process for permitting offshore CO2 storage.
CarbonNet Project, Victoria (CCS Flagship Project)
The CarbonNet Project, currently in Feasibility Stage is investigating the potential for establishing a world class, large scale, multi-user carbon capture and storage network. The network could integrate multiple carbon dioxide capture projects in Victoria's Gippsland region, transporting the CO2 via a common-use pipeline and injecting it into deep offshore underground storage. In February 2012, The CarbonNet Project was announced as the second Australian Government CCS Flagship Program project, receiving an additional AUD$70 million from the Australian Government and AUD$30 million from the State of Victoria.
South West Hub Project, Western Australia (CCS Flagship Project)
This project, which is being co-ordinated by the state of Western Australia, aims to initially store up to 2.4 Mtpa of CO2 captured from industry and power plants southwest of Perth. AUD$52 million of funding under the Australian Government's CCS Flagship Program will be used for a detailed storage viability study of the Lesueur sandstone formation in the onshore Perth Basin and a community consultation program. Partners in the project are the West Australian Government, Perdaman Chemicals and Fertilisers, Synergy, Griffin Energy Development, Premier Coal and Alcoa. The Federal Government have also allocated AUD$48 million for the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) in Perth, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure to research all facets of CCS storage. The project has recently completed a major 3D seismic survey and are currently preparing a further drilling campaign.
Surat Basin Integrated CCS Project, Queensland
CTSCo has submitted a revised program for its Surat Basin Integrated CCS Project to Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technology Ltd (ACALET) and the Australian Government. The Australian Government and ACALET are still in the process of considering program alternatives and options for funding.
Callide Oxyfuel Project, Queensland
This demonstration project consists of a 30 MWe oxy-combustion retrofit and 100 t/day cryogenic CO2 capture plant. The plant was fully commissioned in December 2012 and will operate for a two year period. To date the project has clocked up over 6500 hours of oxyfiring operation and over 3200 hours of CO2 capture. The project has undertaken a number of studies of the potential for CO2 storage in the Bowen Basin and Surat Basin for the Global CCS Institute. The overall budget for the Project including operating costs to December 2014 is AUD$244 million. The Project has been implemented under a Joint Venture between CS Energy, IHI, J-Power, Mitsui, Glencore and Schlumberger, with additional funding from the Australian Government, Japanese Government and ACALET.
CO2CRC Otway Project, Victoria
In Stage 1 of Australia's only operational storage demonstration project, 65,000 tonnes of CO2-rich gas were injected into a 2km-deep depleted gas field from 2008 to 2009 and a major program of monitoring and verification was been implemented. In 2011, researchers developed the world's first single well test to determine storage capacity in deep saline formations by completing a series of injections via a new well to test residual trapping. New research is planned to begin in 2014. The AUD$60 million project, which is supported by 15 companies and 7 government agencies, involves researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea and the USA. Partners include major gas, coal and power companies, research organisations and governments. Additional financial support is provided by the Australian Government, the Victorian Government and the US DOE through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The Gorgon Project, Western Australia
Chevron, as operator on behalf of the Gorgon Joint Venture, is constructing the Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection Project as an integral component of the larger Gorgon Project. It is anticipated that between 3.4 and 4.0 million tonnes of reservoir carbon dioxide per year will be injected into the Dupuy Formation over two kilometres below the surface of Barrow Island. All government approvals have been granted and construction of the overall Gorgon Project is approximately 75 per cent complete. Injection operations are due to commence following the commissioning of the second LNG processing train.
GDF SUEZ Australian Energy Carbon Capture Plant, Victoria
A post-combustion capture plant is operating at the GDF SUEZ Australian Energy Hazelwood Power Station. The solvent capture plant began operation in 2009 and is capturing and chemically sequestering CO2 at a nominal rate of 10,000 tpa of CO2. This project is partly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments.
AGL Loy Yang Project, Victoria
A CSIRO pilot post-combustion capture facility has been operating at AGL Loy Yang Power Station since 2008, capturing around 1000 tpa of CO2. The facility has investigated a range of solvent technologies for CO2 capture. Recently a process emissions study supported by the Global CCS Institute was completed and technologies for combined capture of SO2 and CO2 are under evaluation.
CO2CRC UNO Mk 3 Project
CO2CRC is using a dedicated capture pilot plant at the GDF SUEZ Australian Energy Hazelwood Power Station to develop CO2CRC's innovative potassium carbonate capture system, known as UNO MK 3. The plant-based testing phase of the UNO MK 3 process using the pilot plant, substantially funded by BCIA, has been successfully completed. The UNO MK 3 system is a precipitating system that requires an absorber to be highly solids tolerant and have high mass transfer rates (a large interfacial surface area) with a low pressure drop. The plant has an absorber with conventional structured packing (Sulzer Mellapak 350X) and unconventional columns and packing have also been tested. Final evaluation of the results will allow assessment of the process, equipment configuration, applicability and system’s cost-effectiveness.
Vales Point Power Station, New South Wales
- CSIRO Vales Point PCC Project
Delta Electricity's PCC pilot plant, designed for operation with an aqueous ammonia based liquid absorbent, has been relocated from Munmorah to Vales Point Power Station. The plant has been prepared for the evaluation of a broader set of liquid absorbent technologies and investigation of the use of solar energy for solvent regeneration. Additionally an evaluation of a carbon based solid sorbent technology utilising a flue gas slip stream with and without pretreatment has been carried out.
- CO2CRC Membrane CO2 Capture Facility
A membrane facility is currently operating at the Vales Point Power Station (Delta Electricity, NSW) to capture CO2 from post-combustion flue gases. CO2CRC researchers from UNSW have developed new generation hollow fibre membranes designed for this application and are currently testing them using a membrane-based CO2 capture facility with real post-combustion flue gases. The new environmentally friendly membranes can potentially provide higher separation efficiency and productivity over conventional techniques with a significantly smaller footprint and lower energy consumption.
Tarong PCC Project, Queensland
CSIRO and Stanwell have installed and commissioned a post-combustion capture pilot plant using an amine-based solvent at Tarong Power Station near Kingaroy, Queensland. The plant has a flexible process design enabling the evaluation of different process configurations and became operational in December 2010. More recently an evaluation of concentrated piperazine based liquid absorbent has been completed with promising results in terms of the energy requirement for the regeneration process.
NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Program
The NSW Government, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Coal Association are assessing potential medium to long-term CO2 storage opportunities in NSW, initially in the Darling Basin. Two wells will be drilled in 2014 to obtain data on sealing potential and reservoir qualities.